Angamaly Diaries, Malayalam film directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, portrays the rivalries between to "gangs" in the background of the town of Angamaly. One "gang" consists of mostly youngsters, lead by the main character of the movie named Pepe who is also the narrator of the story - They were friends from childhood and had derived inspirations from the previous generation of local goondas, who used to gather trophies from all the football matches they played, even by snatching them from the real winners, if needed!
Actor Chemban Vinod Jose has written the script for Angamaly Diaries, and he does a brief guest role in a few-seconds long scene of the film. The film has 86 newcomers in it, and I guess, other than Chemban, there is not a single person in the film who has come on screen before. Though the story or script doesn't have much to boast of, Lijo's directorial skills stand out in this film, and it is amazing to see him derive excellent performance from these newcomers, who all seem to be living in their roles. There is a kind of rawness to the narrative style, with a tinge of of dark humor that is typical of the director, the camera work and background music are excellent, and the editing is crisp. Though the events in the story are somewhat predictable and mundane, Lijo's fast-paced and entertaining narrative style makes us feel engaged in the happenings.
Though I liked Lijo's efforts and can say that Angamaly Diaries is a unique Malayalam film, I cant say that it is such a touching or memorable film that I would want to watch once again. A lot of emphasis has been given on the eating habits of Angamaly through those recurring scenes of butchering, cutting and cooking of pork-meat, which I suppose was meant as something to be looked at from the aspect of fun. There are many detailed picturizations of scenes of fights as well (which are done in a very realistic way, and reminded me of Uriyadi, a Tamil movie which I had watched recently). I wish that a percentage of that focus was reallocated to develop the main characters a bit more, at least that of Pepe, to show the finer sensibilities in them - For example, It would be apparent to any person watching the movie that the character Lichi has a crush on Lijo all the way. But Pepe seems to be completely oblivious of it until she tells him in the end, but once he knows of it, he readily accepts it. Even though Pepe has been narrating the story all the while, somehow I never got a feeling of getting to know him closely. I think a bit more attention on some of the finer aspects of characterization would have taken the movie to a different level.